Skid Plates: Yes or No??

I have a relatively new 16 ft Wenonah Adirondack Royalex Canoe and was wondering when or if I should put skid plates on. I obivously like the look of my canoe without them and I’m not into whitewater stuff. Mainly slow moving streams in the Louisiana bayous. Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks

Absolutely not. Royalex will wear very
slowly in LA conditions (I paddle there when I visit my Nawlins daughter). Skid plates would add weight, slow the boat slightly, and act as weed catchers in the bayous.

Not Yet
You will likely never need them unless you start doing whitewater, or are hard on landings.

If you do, you can always add them when the stems show wear. I personally think they adhere better then anyway.

Listen to these guys, don’t do it!
When and if the time comes, there are less nasty alternatives.

they can be noisy too
There are lots of good reasons NOT to put them on - they can make a nice quiet boat noisy - and if you ever manage to start wearing out the ends of your boat (not likely) you can always put them on in the future.

I’ve owned a Wenonah Cascade
since they came out with the model years ago and never have installed 'em. The boat has had extensive whiteH2o river tripping use in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Tennessee and Texas by me or friends and only has a slightly marred bow & stern. The thin Vinyl outer skin has been rubbed off in a very small area on both ends and is nowhere near needing skid plates yet. IF I was doing nothing but heavy, repeated whiteH2o in a dedicated whiteH2o boat I might consider having them installed when I ordered the boat, but for tripping on class 1-3 rivers I haven’t seen the need yet. Why bother? They add weight and have to alter somewhat the casual use performance of the hull. For your stated use I’d forgo the installation till the time wear indicates they MAY be needed, if at all.

Yes if planning to fully use the canoe
It depends on how you will use your canoe, and your attitude about getting scratches versus going places. If you’re going to stick to well-travelled channels and places where motorboats go, then no, you probably won’t need skid plates, and you can keep your boat in pristine condition.

On the other hand, if you want to explore the backwaters and go on little twisty creeks to places other people can’t go, then that will entail dragging over logs and beaver dams, and you may need skid plates.

However, I wouldn’t get them right away. For one thing, some people say they adhere better to a rough, scratched-up surface than to a smooth hull. Second, you might be surprised how much abuse the royalex can take, and you might not need them at all. Once your scratches start to show some white color along the keel, you should cover it with duct tape to keep the sun out. When you have extensive scratches showing white and some inch-wide patches, then it’s time for the skid plates.

I knoow some people like to keep their canoes good-looking and relatively scratch-free, and I can appreciate the beauty of a shiny, blemish-free bow curve glinting in a sunset. But there are plenty of photos of such canoes, just as their are of showroom-quality Jeeps that never go off-road. If you own a large fleet of Jeeps and canoes, I can see keeping one of each in pristine condition. But if you have to make do with only one jeep and less than a handful of canoes, then I think it’s a terrible waste not to have them scratched up with use.

My idea… Boat bra and lederhosen.
No nasty resin to mess with. Just strap the Boat Bra and Lederhosen to your bow and stern, and you won’t need to worry about scratching your baby! Can be strapped to your sponsons for an even more secure attachment.

No, No, and No again !
My boats would have to be completely trashed before I would think of putting skid plates on them.

In my opinion they are for livery boats that renters don’t take care of and boats where the front bottoms are beyond restoring back to original.



Is your objection cosmetic or structural?

How do you restore a royalex hull with deep scratches and isolated 1x5-inch strips where the vinyl is gone and the abs shows thru?

That’s what I consider …
completely trashed and then it’s time for a skid, (grunge plate).



If you do wear the bow or stern that will be plenty of time to put them on. And you will know just where you need them.



– Last Updated: Jun-07-09 7:13 PM EST –

They are a waste of time, money, weight and paddling performance.

You will wear out the bottom of your boat under the paddling stations far earlier than the stems.

Oh, okay, we’re on the same wavelength then. I thought you might be referring to the stories we’ve heard on occasion about skid plates sometimes leading to massive structural failures.

For the OP, there is a line of thought that since skid plates are usually made from kevlar, not royalex, that you risk tearing the whole front of the boat off if you hit it just right. However, evidence for this is sketchy at best.

As far as I know, there is no workable way to “restore” an ABS hull, but one in the condition I describe still has lots of life left in it. The colored part is vinyl and mainly serves to protect the ABS from direct sunlight, so losing big chunks of it doesn’t affect hull strength very much. Thus, duct tape is a great temporary solution, but duct tape tears away easily and so has to be renewed every trip or two. Hence, when it gets bad enough, a skid plate becomes a good option.

I had a second hand, well worn Tripper
with exposed and dented ABS at both ends.

I skimmed off the vinyl, bias-cut four concentric layers of glass, and applied them with West epoxy. The smooth countour of the boat was restored. Glass cloth patches are stronger than Kevlar felt. S-glass is even better.

Unless a Royalex boat is horribly distorted, it can be restored by conservative glass and epoxy techniques. Kevlar is mostly an inside-the-boat fiber.

Oh, shortly afterward, I sold the Tripper to some fishermen. That was stupid.

sounds good
That sounds good, better than a skid plate, if one has the skills. I guess it’s probably cheaper, too, in material costs.

Yes and no

– Last Updated: Jun-08-09 6:18 AM EST –

I have kevlar skid plates on my Yellowstone Solo. Bought it new, and at the time I thought better safe than sorry. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think the skid plates have any significant effect on performance. I do find that I get lazy about dragging the boat around.

Took the skid plates off my whitewater boat. The boat is old and the skid plates were coming off anyway. Plan to replace them, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.